Coming into Friday’s game, what was stranger: Brent Burns having zero goals on the season despite 84 shots on goal in 20 games, or the Vegas Golden Knights leading the Pacific Division?
Both points ended up being relevant to the discussion, as Burns finally scored his first goal of 2017-18 to help the San Jose Sharks rally for a “loser point,” but the Golden Knights ultimately won 5-4 in OT.
With that, the Golden Knights won their fourth game in a row and now have 29 standings points, making for at least a slight cushion for the Pacific Division lead (the Kings are in action, but at 26 points, they’ll trail Vegas even if they manage a comeback win).
Vegas probably wasn’t happy to see a three-goal lead dissolve, yet the Golden Knights just keep plugging away. They enjoyed a strong output from three forwards with plenty to prove in James Neal (one goal, one assist), William Karlsson (two goals), and Jonathan Marchessault (one goal and two assists). Both Neal and Karlsson are at 12 goals on the season now.
The Golden Knights do have a bit to be concerned with, though, and that’s not limited to giving up the lead. Maxime Lagace “wasn’t feeling good” so he left the game for Malcolm Subban, while David Perron suffered an upper-body injury and did not return thanks to this questionable check:
Even in defeat, Burns has to feel relief with this goal:
Heck, even the Sharks seemed to wipe a little sweat off of their brows as the beastly blueliner finally scored.
(Eh, Burns might need a few more goals to get people to stop complaining about his fantasy value. Sorry, Sharks.)
Joe Thornton‘s two assists helped the Sharks secure a standings point, and now he sits alone at 12th all-time in assists, passing Joe Sakic.
The Golden Knights continue to be one of the most heartening stories in the NHL, but even in grabbing the extra point, they’re only five ahead of the Sharks. Fighting off regression won’t be easy for the Golden Knights, yet they have incentive to push for some sort of home-ice advantage, as they improved to an impressive 9-1-0 in Vegas so far in their inaugural season.
You never know how far a good run might take you, so don’t blame the Golden Knights for letting it ride.